Morocco- Imilchil and the myth of Tislit and Isli lakes

lake tislit

Lake Tislit landscape

Where are located these two lakes?

The Lake of Tislit is a lake located in Morocco's High Atlas Oriental National Park, near to Imilchil town, and the Lake of Isli is near to the first lake by almost 9km (two hours walk for hikers), with an altitude of 2272 and 2266 meters.  

How is the Climate there?

Imilchil features a continental climate with Oceanic influence. Summers square measure moderately hot and winters square measure cool. Winter nighttime temperatures sometimes drop below phase change. Summer sometimes starts in June and ends in late September. The typical annual precipitation is higher than four hundred millimeters, however, it will, exceedingly, reach 800 millimeters in a few years. Precipitation is distributed equally throughout the year, through summers tend to own lower precipitation than winters.
lake isi

Clouds in Isli lake

What to do there?

Imilchil is a small town and calm. With a lot of hostels and camping. You can enjoy walking in this town and get Tajin made of goat meat. You have to go to visit Tislit and Isli the two beautiful lakes near the town. There is a beautiful landscape out there. For people who like to have a calm time, it is a good choice but not in winter because of cold weather and snow, even in summer, the weather is not very hot and can be raining. The summer usually starts in June and ends in the last of September. There is a camping in Tislit with tents and food. You can also take your own tent in the camping, but in Isli there is only Sauvage camping (savage camping) where you can take your tent to spend the night. You also have the choice to go visit Isli in the morning and come back to Tislit by evening. For the hiker, it takes up to two hours to get there on feet, but you can ask the owner of the camping to drive you back to the lake by transport. The best time to visit these two lakes in October, in which they celebrate the Imilchil wedding festival.

What is the Imlichil wedding festival?

The festival lasts three days, consists essentially of a souk (market) where thousands of inhabitants of the region come to stock cattle, blankets, furniture, pots, and pans. A ritual necessary to arm yourself against the winter, during which the villages can remain snow-covered for days, even weeks. As essential as the souk for many people, it is now famous mainly for its wedding festival, especially since the Moroccan authorities began to promote it as a tourist destination off the beaten path. For the festival, it is an event where are gathered people of the region, to celebrate the marriages of a lot of couples.

How to achieve these two lakes?

Firstly, you have to go to Imilchil town; you can get a fly to Ouarzazate (the nearest airport), then you have to get a taxi to Tinghir (for almost 6usd), then you have to get another taxi to Imilchil (for almost 5usd).

What does that mean these two names Tisli and Isli?

In the past, Moroccan principal language was Amazigh. In Atlas mountains and some villages, people still speak Amazigh. Every single place has a meaningful name in Amazigh, just like these two lakes. So in Amazigh, Tislit means the wife, and Isli means the husband  

So why these two lakes were named the wife and the husband?

  In old days, Morocco was a Berber country. There was a lot of stories and myths. Some people still believe in those myths, and we are talking about the myth who say that the two Lakes in Morocco's High Atlas were named Lake Isli and Lake Tisli after two lovers, a sort of “Romeo & Juliet” Moroccan style. This is a story of an impossible love between a boy from the tribe of Ait Brahim and a girl from the tribe of Ait Ya'za. Their love could not succeed because the two tribes were in a continuous war, a quarrel of space that they inherited centuries before. Thus, neither the father of the young man would tolerate that his son take a wife at the Aït Ya'za, nor the father of the girl would accept that his daughter becomes the spouse of Aït Brahim. The two lovers devoted themselves to pure love, so deep that they could not live apart. So they decided to flee to the mountain of Isslan. When they arrived, they sat down and began to cry because of the fate that had forced them to leave their parents, brothers, and friends. They cried for days. The tears they poured out soon became two lakes which bore their names: Isli and Tislit. Conscious that they had made a serious mistake in fleeing and could not retrace their steps, they preferred to drown each one in his lake than to live separated. They say that every night they come out of the lakes to meet. The death of the two lovers is celebrated each year by the engagement party held in Imilchil every October, a festival that brings together all the candidates for the wedding.

What to do in the region of Imilchil?

So if you go to Imilchil, this is not all! Because there is a lot of beautiful areas near to it If you want to go to the desert, you can take a taxi cab to Tinghir. 15km before this small beautiful city, there is a place named ‘les gorges de Toudgha = Toudgha throats’, where the high Atlas Mountains meet the Anti-Atlas. After Tinghir you can take road to Errachidia, and from Errachidia to Merzouga Even if it is a Sahara, Merzouga has the largest natural underground body of water in Morocco. In another way, you have to go to visit mountains to discover the secrets of Atlas Mountains and met their people. They are very generous and welcoming. You can also go to Boutferda another little village to discover the tanks of Aoujgal where people used to store their food.

Adraoui Oussama

I am Oussama Adraoui Moroccan blogger, I like traveling and discovering new places, living new experience, here I will be sharing the experiences that I have lived during my trips, from how I got myself prepared to everything I have learned from this passion of mine.